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Whenua DP4 / Lot 173

  • Whenua DP4 / Lot 173
  • Written by Paul Maunder
  • A Kiwipossum Production
  • 25 Aug to 8 Sep
  • Multiple venues
  • Greymouth, Kokitika, Reefton

Paul Maunder, writes: Provoked by a comment from an audience member after a performance of our last piece on native logging, Helen and the Ferals, we started with the idea of a play about the land, dairying, water, that sort of thing.

But instead of a play with a simple referencing to community and social relations, it has taken us into a more aesthetically complex space, as if that is the only way to articulate the complexity of the issues: land as whenua/placenta (the womb which nurtures); land as signified by the rates demand: DP74 ,LOT 123

Rose, a farmer’s wife, is constantly dancing with nostalgia, revealing her perspective of the land from her motherhood and marriage. But when the memories subside she is also able to voice her opinions that others don’t want to hear… but we do.

Omar represents hard work, the love for family, the sacrifice, the routine, the pain, the distance…all elements that shape the life of immigrant workers.

Aroha’s connection with the land is as rich as the description of the elements found in a handful of dirt that she holds for few moments…

Sell or not sell? That is the question that Ron, the son, needs to answer. Graham’s enthusiastic speech of numbers and volume transfers to his agitated eyes and chest that will only find peace when a signature is done.

Fragments are nicely linked between the characters actions, a flawless chain of words that reveals the characters thoughts, so different from one to another. Grass, water, nitrogen, cows, millions, the river, the factory, family…

Fences surround the audience. A soft guitar playing in the background and a couple of vehicles in motion complete the perfectly illuminated atmosphere .

Cast: Francis Darwen, Karen Grant, Jason Johnson, Caroline Selwood, George Super, Elisa Wells, Frank Wells.

Paul is fascinated by the concept of transgressing the domestic space and this play, which tends to consist of separate monologues of a diverse range of people, become linked by a dairy farm.  Hence the House Performance.


In 2010 we decided to set up a Community-based Theatre Group called Kiwi Possum Productions, to explore local issues, provide theatre-making opportunities and training for local actors, and establish a Community-based theatre culture within the region.

The first project Poison and Purity portrayed all sides of the 1080 debate in a theatre production which actively involved audiences in discussion of the issue. Since then we have produced plays on the Pike River disaster (Goodnight, Irene), race relations in Greymouth/Mawhera (The Cave Above the Pa/Te Ana I Runga I Te Pa), the Spring Creek Mine closure (The Judgement of Ben Alder, a children’s play (Stepping Stones, a play to commemorate the Waihi Strike, and a heritage play (Ted, Poppy and World War 11). We have also held workshops and professional development sessions for teachers. Usually we produce a new play each year, premiered in Greymouth/Mawhera, which tours early the following year.



Fri 24 Aug 7.30pm Regent Theatre Greymouth
Sat 25 Aug 7.30pm Regent Theatre Greymouth
Sat 1 Sep 7.30pm The Old Lodge Hokitika
Sun 2 Sep 7.30pm The Old Lodge Hokitika
Sat 8 Sep 7.30pm Jane and Pat's House Reefton

After watching this play a sense of belonging may fall upon you. It certainly did for me. I admire this group of people for creating this, a space to think and feel for our West Coast.

Natalia Hickey-Cortes